Fall in number of smokers levels off
A ten year decline in the number of smokers stalled out in 2005
For the first time in ten years, the number of smokers in Denmark has not fallen, according to a study conducted by the National Board of Health, The Danish Lung Association, The Heart Association, and The Danish Cancer Society.
Since 1994, the number of habitual smokers has fallen consistently, and by 2004 smokers made up 25 percent of the population.
The board of health study found that the overall percentage of smokers remained unchanged in 2005. It fears that further reductions will be more difficult.
'It is a worrisome development, which we believe has several causes,' said Jørgen Falk, project leader with the board of health. 'Smoking has become less expensive, and we know from countless studies that young people especially are affected by prices.'
While overall numbers had levelled off, for people under 30, the percentage of smokers had increased, which was a warning sign for the board.
The study also found an increasing class divide when it came to smoking trends. While 33 percent of those with only a primary education smoked, 17 percent of those with university educations did so regularly.
Despite the unchanged smoking rate, a record number said they planned to quit - 43 percent of smokers said they would like to stop smoking.
At the same, there is also majority support for measures that would make it more difficult to smoke. The study found that 54 percent of people supported smoke-free workplaces, while 55 percent said they would support a law protecting people against second-hand smoke.
Support for the same measures in 2004 was 42 and 48 percent, respectively.
Creating smoke-free workplaces would help to eliminate class differences when it came to smoking rates, according to Falk.
'That would make it easier for many who would like to stop, because when we're talking about the desire to stop smoking, there are very small social differences,' he said.